Korean American Falls Short as Jimmy Gomez Wins Becerra Seat

Jimmy Gomez (Mary Hodge / Jimmy Gomez for Congress / Associated Press)
Mary Hodge / Jimmy Gomez for Congress / Associated Press

California State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) won a runoff election Tuesday to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra as the U.S. Representative for the 34th congressional district, defeating an effort by attorney Robert Lee Ahn to become the first Korean-American member of Congress.

According to Los Angeles County official totals, Gomez won just over 60% of the vote, and Ahn won just under 40%.

The Los Angeles Times‘ Christine Mai-Duc notes that Gomez “continues a decades-old tradition of Democratic Latino representation in the district, which stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Boyle Heights and incorporates Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Koreatown.” It adds: If Ahn had won, he would have become the second Korean American elected to the House and the first Korean American Democrat.

Becerra has replaced Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as California Attorney General. The race to replace him drew a large number of candidates in the primary, with Gomez and Ahn proceeding to Tuesday’s runoff.

Ahn used aggressive mail strategies in both the primary and the runoff elections, which were very effective but also alienated some voters, according to an earlier report by the Times.

Gomez, a 42-year-old member of the state legislature, enjoyed the advantage of strong name recognition. He was re-elected in 2014 with 83% of the vote. He is a first-generation Mexican-American and enjoys the support of many of California’s Democratic-leaning interest groups.

Roll Call suggests that Gomez “will fit into the liberal wing of the Democratic caucus,” and predicts that he will “be a major voice on labor and workplace issues.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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